Archive for May, 2016

via Instapundit

“To assent to obvious lies is to co-operate with evil, and in some small way to become evil oneself. One’s standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed.”

Theodore Dalrymple in a 2005 interview with Jamie Glazov of Front Page magazine.

“In any case, individuals need not believe the lies of an ideology so much as behave as though they do, or at least tolerate them in silence or get along with those who work with them. “For by this very fact, individuals confirm the system, fulfill the system, make the system, are the system,” Havel says.”

The Rise Of The Same-Sex Marriage Dissidents,” Mollie Hemigway in the Federalist in 2014, exploring Vaclav Havel’s 1978 essay on Czechoslovakia under Soviet control, “The Power of the Powerless.

Integrity is a necessity, not a nicety.

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Ideal gas law vs the NFL

Reason and reality don’t seem to make much of an impact on behavior these days. Scientists weigh in against the NFL’s war on physics and Tom Brady makes it clear that science isn’t at issue but rather the power politics about who is in charge.

If you’re not an American football fan, think of this as a story of a $13 billion company that can’t get its head around basic science.

Consider this further bit of analysis. The scientists gathered temperature data for more than 10,000 NFL outdoor games since 1960. They assumed a locker-room temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit and that footballs were inflated to 13 pounds per square inch of pressure ahead of each game, and found that 61% of games would have been played in temperatures that would lead to “deflated” footballs as judged by the NFL.

That’s like in the WBCCI, the Airstream RV association, where the Trustees seem to think their job is to serve the Company and supervise the members instead of serving the members by supervising the Company. Power goes to people’s heads and can create situations where reality and reason get set aside.

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Cowperthwaite and Hong Kong

Every now and then there is a civil servant who makes a difference. The Most Powerful Wealth Generator There Is is the story of one such colonial administrator.

At some point during our first conversation I managed to irk him by suggesting that he was chiefly known “for doing nothing.” In fact, he pointed out, keeping the British political busy-bodies from interfering in Hong Kong’s economic affairs took up a large portion of his time. Throughout Sir John’s tenure in office, the British political elite tried to impose its own ailing socialist economic model on Britain’s colonies, including Hong Kong. Sir John managed to quash all such attempts and Hong Kong benefited as a result.

The answer to growth is as simple as that. Liberty, the ability to own your own property, make your own mistakes and chart your own destiny is the key to growth for everybody. When you are free to pursue wealth, wealth happens. That’s because when people make free exchanges, both sides benefit from the exchange. When that happens, business and civilization thrive and grow.

and then there’s Venezuela…

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DHMO scares, now its DNA food labeling

Getting people to sign up to ban diHydrogen Monoxide (aka water) is an old joke that comes up now and then, But, wait! there’s a new one! Wapo reports: New study confirms that 80 percent of Americans support labeling of foods containing DNA

Nearly all food contains DNA, and there is no good reason to warn consumers about its presence. As McFadden and Lusk and explain, the survey answers on this subject are an indication of widespread scientific ignorance, proving that many of the respondents “have little knowledge of basic genetics.” Other data from the study also support this conclusion, including the fact that 33 percent of respondents believe that non-GMO tomatoes do not contain any genes, and 32 percent think that vegetables have no DNA. Our vegetables would be blissfully free of DNA if not for the nefarious corporations who maliciously insert it into the food supply!

More generally, the problem of public ignorance about genetics is just one part of a broader pattern of widespread ignorance about numerous public policy issues, both scientific and otherwise. The problem is not that voters are too stupid to learn basic facts about scientific and political issues, but that they have too little incentive to do so.

Sadly, there is no easy solution to widespread scientific and political ignorance. In my work on the subject, I have argued that the most promising approach is to limit and decentralize the power of government, which would enable us to make more of our decisions in settings where we have stronger incentives to become well-informed. At the very least, we should recognize that we have a serious problem with voter ignorance, and that majority public opinion is often a very poor guide to policy.

It isn’t only science. Consider the problem WBCCI Trustees have when it comes to understanding their organization’s tax exempt status. It takes work to demolish ignorance and even more work to actually make effective decisions. It is just much easier to put a label on things warning about fears whether they are well founded or not. 

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Imagine

Robert Tracinski takes on the ignorant idealism of the 60’s in Imagine No Possessions, Imagine Venezuela — “John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ gave us a fantasy vision of socialism. Venezuela is showing us the brutal reality.”

It began by imagining no possessions. Private property and private businesses and private profit were supposedly the source of everyone’s problems, so the Venezuelan government set out to get rid of them, with Chavez issuing a notorious set of 49 decrees in 2001 that gave him vast power over the economy. He used this power to seize private factories and expropriate foreign owners of Venezuelan firms—ensuring that no foreign investors would want to put a single dollar into the country for the foreseeable future.

There’s a lot of other baggage that comes with “idealistic” worldview of socialism. John Lennon also asked us to “imagine there’s no heaven” and “no religion.” This was not just about atheism, but about a range-of-the-moment outlook in which we were supposed to be “living for today.” Living in the present because “now is all there is” was a really big thing in the 1960s. The hippies wanted us to be like the lilies of the field and take no thought for the morrow.

That’s one thing socialism has delivered on. It’s easy to live only for today when long-term planning has become impossible and you have no idea where your next meal is coming from.

These truths about the fundamental inhumanity of socialism are old news, and we didn’t need to see any of it confirmed again in Venezuela. In fact, it had all been demonstrated over and over again before John Lennon came along. When he wrote “Imagine,” it was no longer necessary for anyone to imagine the actual real-world meaning of socialism.

What you need your imagination for is to continue to evade them.

And yet the yearning over-rides reality. Again and again the massacre and suffering is put in front of us yet still it makes no dent, stimulates no learning.

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The state propaganda machine interpreting court rulings

The case was about religious freedom but The press tries its best to downplay a serious defeat for the Obama administration.

Anyone still naïve enough to rely on the legacy media for unvarnished news will have gone to bed Monday evening believing that the Supreme Court evaded its duty regarding Little Sisters of the Poor v. Burwell. Countless headlines had declared that the Court decided to “punt,” “skirt,” or otherwise dodge any meaningful action concerning the challenge to the HHS contraception mandate. In reality, SCOTUS handed the Little Sisters and the other petitioners with whom the Court consolidated their case a major victory in their protracted battle to defend religious liberties against the depredations of the Obama administration’s bureaucrats and lawyers.

In a unanimous opinion, the justices vacated all lower court rulings against the Little Sisters and the other petitioners. The term “vacated,” in this context, means that the Court has rendered those adverse decisions legally void. And the justices didn’t stop there. In order to protect the petitioners from further financial harm, they informed the Obama administration that it “may not impose taxes or penalties on petitioners” pursuant to their continued refusal to abide by the contraception mandate or the so-called accommodation. Finally, the Court remanded the cases back to the relevant lower courts “for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.”

All the Court had to do, then, was remand the cases to the lower courts with the following admonition, “Both parties agree that there is enough flexibility in the law and the regulation to find a compromise, so fix it!” And that’s what the Court did on Monday. Despite the dishonest reporting of the “news” media, the Court hasn’t punted, skirted, dodged, or passed on anything. The Obama administration was forced to admit that it has wasted the Supreme Court’s time on something that could have been resolved at the district court level. But the government doesn’t want resolution. It wants obedience. And it certainly gets that from the media.

This is on top of media interviews with guffaws about how the Administration used lies to sell its position on Obamacare and Iran Nuclear Programs, lies that the Democrats are opposing investigating in a solid block much as they have been blocking investigations into the Benghazi lies and deceit. Propaganda is one thing. Partisan political support for it as we are seeing now does not bode well.

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Where’s Star Wars?

Torgersen takes a look at The Martian and Mad Max and it is in water much deeper than just the Science Fiction and Fantasy writers. It is about a world view and the role of humanity past, present, and future.

Clearly, audiences across the globe had a much greater preference for the science fiction movie that focused on actual science being employed in a setting where science — and mankind — are making miracles happen.

But the professional body of Science Fiction and Fantasy writers liked their bleak future better. The future where a despotic madman keeps women as breeding and food stock, while the young men all die very bloodily, and too early; before the lymphoma and blood cancers (from the nuclear fallout, naturally) can kill them slow.

Of course, The Martian was every inch a Campbellian movie, while Fury Road was almost entirely New Wave.

Guess which aesthetic dominates and excites the imaginations of SF/F’s cognoscenti?

Now, I think there is a very strong argument to be made, for the fact that Campbellian vs. New Wave is merely the manifestation of a deeper problem — a field which no longer has a true center.

My personal stance has always been, “To hell with the hoity-toities! Give me my space cruisers and galactic adventure, like that which fired my imagination in the beginning!” But this is a very passé attitude. Nobody wants nuts-and-bolts SF/F anymore, do they?

The Martian box office take isn’t the only indicator. Look at the latest in the Star Wars saga. Whether it is almost feasible science extrapolated or dam’ the science for space adventure where the good guy wins, the box office seems to favor the feel good over the apocalyptic. Now consider that in light of political topics such as human caused catastrophic climate warming, the GMO and ‘natural organic’ foods controversies, energy resources, and other science related where is mankind political controversies. Does man overcome problems or does he (she) cause them?

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Legacies, carefully crafted

The prelude was crafting a legacy for GWB. That, it turns out, was built on lies and dishonesty. Now is the time to craft a legacy for the current president. Tammy Bruce describes the effort as Obama’s legacy: Duping America about everything is the name of the game.

To people like this, it’s funny to screw up your life. They’re bullies, plain and simple. Their contempt has no bounds, and it’s not just Mr. Obama, but a reflection of what the entire Democratic Party has become.

After all the Obama/Hillary Democrats have done to this country, they should have at least had the decency to take us out to dinner first.

Next up its another Clinton and exposure there is also being laughed away.

You know they are laughing at you, right?

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Give us Barabbas!

“There is no substitute for victory. There is no substitute for the America that each and every one of us loves with all our heart, that we believe in with all our heart, and that together we will restore as a shining city on the hill for every generation to come.”

This statement of Ted Cruz seems to bother some folks. That bothers Lloyd Marcus who says Regarding Ted Cruz, You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet.

This political season, many voters threw social and moral issues out the window. … This remarkable man deserves so much better.

When our conservative gladiators enter the arena, Democrats, the Left, the GOP establishment, and mainstream media team up to stop and destroy them forever. The evil coalition launches its standard 24/7 character assassination shock-and-awe attack. Phase two includes endless absurd lies and extremely well-funded dirty tricks. Whenever one of our candidates falls short of winning due to the behemoth opposing them, our advisers and voters blame the candidate for being too this or not enough of that. Then, we throw our courage warriors on the junk heap of tainted and forever unelectable conservatives. In other words, if only our candidate would have mastered politically walking on water, we could have won or retained the seat. The disloyalty sickens me.

The bench was deep on the Republican side but the voters weren’t playing that game. It is like all of those playing Fantasy Football found out that their player choices were being put into an arena where football was not the game. The rules have changed and a ‘dark horse’ as emerged as the prominent player.

The other adage that comes to mind and the one that Lloyd Marcus seems to have in mind is about burning bridges. Trump seems aware of this in that his assault on reality and others in his game is tactical, not pathological like it is with the ‘other’ party. Trump is selling his product and runs fast and free in how he presents it. This appeases his customer base but care is needed to make sure that it doesn’t go too far. Going too far is like what the current administration is doing in regards to race relations and government scandals. In the discussion about Trump, the bridges are about party unity. To win the game, he is going to need to build a strong team with a clear focus. Ted Cruz put that focus into words. Those irritated by those words are going to need some more snake oil.

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